Italian-style Einstein


Nature, the world’s most important scientific (communist) magazine, has published an article about the state of research in Italy after the five years of the psycho-dwarf in Government.
We don’t come out well.
We come out with broken bones, not like a country of bananas and prickly pears, those were good times. Let’s not be offensive to the fruit.
Now we are the country of the bowl, but the one you sit on, not the one used for soup.

Italy invests half the amount of other European nations on Research and Development and it now targets the investment towards applied research, of immediate use to companies.

Nature: “This industry-friendly philosophy included reorienting the CNR’s mission from fundamental to applied research. Despite its unpopularity among scientists, Fabio Pistella, appointed by the government as the CNR president in July 2004, says the focus on applications must continue. “Italian industry invests little in research and the CNR’s mission is now to fill this gap — scientific papers are not the only measure of success of a good research organization.” “

The results of this approach are evident, researchers are fleeing abroad or are subject to the logic of the market.
Nature looks briefly at Fabio Pistella’s qualifications: “The CNR president Fabio Pistella claims to have 150 scientific publications on his CV; this was submitted to the Italian parliament in support of his presidential nomination in 2004. But Le Scienze reported in January 2006 that ISI cites only three publications by him. Pistella told Nature that some of his publications are old and in Italian, “and the roles of the CNR president in any case require management skills””.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 06:21 PM in | Comments (6)
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Dear all, I believe the scientific research in Italy, both basic and applied, is obviously becoming the big issue of any further national development project.
However Italy seems to represent, to the Italian people but not to the strangers, an excellent example of a developed western country where during the last years we look in a powerless way to the “profit law” of political decisions as only one applied for technological and scientific development evaluation.
Really, as stated by Nature in the last weeks, academic environment suffers in Italy of selective criteria applied only in Italy and impossible to understand in the other western countries: CNR director represents only the iceberg tip.
These criteria become a social pressure working mainly against the academic world, where the future ruling class is trained. In this perspective, an apparent critique to the present politics come from academic management.
However a question is rising in my mind: is the academic management really able to manage the scientific and technological re-alignment to the other best western countries realities?
We have to remember that the main part of the academic management represents the final consequence of a political and social pressure applied to the academic structure, where the selection criteria is not really the ability to look forward, but it’s the ability to look back and around.
It’s my growing impression, I hope I’m making a big mistake, that the main part of academic italian managers (rectors, full professors, sr. scientists, researchers, etc., etc.) are really interested to the development but they don’t posses the necessary experience and skills to ferry the academic world to the future challenge.
Maybe they don’t live, unfortunately, in the competitive and pitiless “real” selective world of the other western counties (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, etc.).
Best Regards

Posted by: Stefano Porzio | March 30, 2006 01:43 PM

Well thanks Grillo for this space -time
what to tell about research? hmm there is a law in Italy to permit to come back our reasercher form abord! Well in an article one sayd :" i was paid about 2200 Euro in Germany...all my parents where in Italy so i came back by this new low . I receveid about 1600 euro first time...and after some yuear only 1200 euro for a mounth"! Well he was thiking to retuyrn in Germany where there is a new politic for researcher where they have less trouble to live there aslo if they come for abord. as from Russia Pakistan or India! In Italy i wrote to Left party to ask what they want to do for reaseach. They told me that they want to spend about 2% of pil for reaserch as in all Europe. MErlkel Government in germany spend about more 8% of her balance for reasearch. They know the imporatance of this sector. Only by reaseach you can stay at the top of the World. The story teach to as that Gemany in the past was near to do the atomic bomb as now has the leader in the world as usa for Micro processor. There is a cause for all this. This is the research. Now the USA has stopped the light! we must use this know how to build new sitem to use the light instead of electric system...maybe we don't nead more of oil and plastic that give us big trouble for our behavior. We must try to live discovering new suystem to live together in pace. Hopping in that thanks to all bye bye Fredi.

Posted by: fredi ricchioni | March 29, 2006 12:18 AM

Dear Luigi Bavaresco,
I understand what you mean, I left 6-1/2
years ago miself. However I believe that we should give ideas to those that choose (or are forced) to stay in the Italian system.

Posted by: michele zanolin | March 28, 2006 04:39 AM

Hi all,
this is the distant voice of a graduate Italian student who left the Italian peninsula exactly 13 months ago to undergo further postgraduate studies. Nothing whatsoever has changed or improved over there, I keep on reading the same annoying and obnoxious alarms as to how deep our nation can fall. Nothing is irreversible, but a change of tack appears unlikely in the short run. My piece of advice is the following: "the ship is sinking. Those who can swim better hop out and start paddling towards merrier ends".
Cheers from a far Sydney.

Posted by: Luigi Bavaresco | March 28, 2006 03:37 AM

Few comments on the brain drain and the Italian University system:

- scientists going abroad is not necessarily bad
if we produce too many of them for our needs.

- some fields of fundamental reseach needs to be
give a lower priority than in the past (for example particle physics appears to be less rich of perspectives than 50 years ago)

- Amato (ex confindustria secretary) had an interesting point: if you remove the article 18,
companies can expand more freely and have larger research departments.

- In Italy there are hundreds of small research groups that work isolated. Reseach require concentration of resources not rain spread.

- Religion or political sides do not affect the quality of reseach: you can be religious and a good researcher and not religious and poor researcher and vice versa.

- Reseach, Economy, Politics and Nature preservation can only be seen in a global

greetings from Boston

Posted by: michele zanolin | March 27, 2006 11:19 PM

not surprising at all, it is fact that Italian brightest minds fly away from Italy an the comments in the English version of this site are a proff of that.
I have been a cococo researcher in Italian University and I find that the problem of Italian research, at least in universities, is the monopoly by CL (comunione e liberazione) of all the most important positions making life difficult for those who are really devoted to research and are more talented.


Posted by: Maria C | March 27, 2006 10:44 PM

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